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Your Marketing Team Needs These 5 Skills to Deliver Success

Your Marketing Team Needs These 5 Skills to Deliver Success

Although areas for reskilling and upskilling are always in flux, transformative technologies can empower SMBs to scale marketing efforts and deliver success.

The concept of “practice makes perfect” applies to marketing as much as it does to learning to play the piano or compete in a hockey game.

Not every ad campaign will deliver the desired results, but by continuing to experiment and test their approaches, marketing teams have a good chance of doing better on their future campaigns.

The ability to tell a compelling story about a brand and its value proposition, meanwhile, is never fully realized. It takes ongoing practice to fine-tune how the story is articulated, and the best way to showcase it across various marketing channels.

Practicing the art and science of marketing involves going beyond sticking with the tools and techniques you’ve always used before. It’s a process of learning about new technologies, more strategic actions, and how to enhance the way you evaluate your progress. In other words, it’s about continuing to reskill or upskill your marketing function.

Successful small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to pay particular attention to the skill sets among their marketing teams. They may be competing against much larger rivals with deeper pockets, including more resources to invest in the latest tools and more people to take advantage of them.

Reskilling and upskilling can level the playing field for SMBs because some of the most transformative technologies allow them to scale their marketing efforts as though they were much bigger than they are.

There’s also greater flexibility in how to acquire and develop new marketing skills. Just look at platforms like Trailhead, which offer loads of courses that marketers can take at their own time, for free. This is the kind of training they can easily apply in their day-to-day work and deliver significant results that help their brand achieve critical business outcomes.

Although the list of areas for reskilling and upskilling is always in flux, these are among the best bets to consider, regardless of economic or other business challenges:

1. Advancements in marketing automation

In the early days, automation in marketing helped create dramatic improvements in productivity for those who were responsible for managing digital ad campaigns or building their brand on channels like social media. The technology has only gotten better since then, with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that help marketers on multiple fronts.

By making greater use of customer data, for example, marketers can use automation to not only get more creative work in front of their eyes but deepen their ability to personalize content. They can use platforms like Marketing Cloud to analyze performance across a wide variety of metrics and predict what customers may want and need from their brand next.

2. Communication strategies leveraging data literacy

As your company gets better at marketing strategically using data, you might begin developing what’s called a data culture. The marketing team is in a great position to support that kind of culture by providing role models in how they develop their data literacy.

Depending on your industry or the customer base you’re serving, for instance, the marketing department may be responsible for helping people understand information relating to their pain points. This could take the form of research that educates them on key trends. Data literacy skills are necessary to effectively communicate statistics or other complex findings to your target audience.

Data literacy is equally important behind the scenes, where marketing teams may be interpreting what they see on their dashboards in terms of engagement with creative assets, buying behaviour, or changes in customer loyalty.

3. Marketing to a mobile-first audience

Your customers may come from all walks of life, but chances are they’ll have at least one thing in common: they’re probably carrying a smartphone in their pocket, or using a tablet or laptop for much of their everyday computing.

We’re becoming a mobile-first society for a reason. It’s a lot easier to perform activities like researching products, making purchases, and getting help when you have a device that’s highly portable for the job. That makes mobile messaging a priority for marketers who want to meet customers where they are.

Mobile messaging can range from texts and SMS campaigns to notifications they receive on a branded app. It’s not just a matter of keeping things short, but inspiring customers to take desired actions. In other words, it’s a skill well worth developing.

4. Attracting high-value customers via account-based marketing

In a business-to-business (B2B) environment, it doesn’t always make sense to focus on marketing to the entire world. Sometimes the bigger opportunity lies in identifying the most potentially profitable customers who will drive the lion’s share of your results. This is the core thinking behind what’s known as account-based marketing (ABM).

Success with ABM isn’t just about creating a target list of accounts, though. These campaigns often demand a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to nurturing the relationship with the right content and offers. Technology is fundamental to pursuing ABM because you need to plan, execute, and monitor the progress of ABM campaigns with great care.

5. Partnering for greater performance through distributed marketing

Brands don’t always achieve their goals on their own, especially when they’re SMBs. They might market and sell their products through a network of resellers if they’re B2B vendors, for instance. A direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand might want to complement its e-commerce strategy by featuring some products within traditional retailers.

These are great examples of distributed marketing, which tends to depend on knowing how to collaborate with a mixture of internal stakeholders and external third parties. Fortunately, tools like Slack make it easier than ever to keep in contact with other teams and partners. There are many features within marketing automation programs that can assist with distributed marketing too.

Need more ideas for the marketing skills that will build brands in the future? Check out the latest findings from Salesforce’s eighth annual State of Marketing Report.

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